The European far-right parties begin the year 2024 with strong voting expectations. This is how their options are presented in the various elections they will face during the next electoral year.
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA
Polls point to clear growth of AfD and FPÖ
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the fifth force in the Bundestag (Lower House of Parliament) and is present in almost all the chambers of the länder, but the rest of the parties subject it to a cordon sanitaire, so it is not even has never been a partner in any federal or regional government coalition in Germany. In national polls he now scores at 22%, behind the conservatives and ahead of the social democratic SPD – which governs in coalition with the greens and liberals – and the first polls for the Europeans give him similar percentages; This would double its result compared to the previous European event in 2019, in which it had 11%.
The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has touched federal and regional power on more than one occasion. In the polls for the European elections, it ties with the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with around 25%, which if confirmed at the polls would be a large increase compared to 2019, when it had 17.2% of votes. Next year, Austria also holds general elections in the fall. Both the AfD and the FPÖ are part of the European group Identity and Democracy, which includes the Italian ultras Lega (Matteo Salvini) and the French National Rally (Marine Le Pen).
UNITED KINGDOM AND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Lots of noise but no representation in parliaments
The British majoritarian system makes it very difficult for small parties to obtain parliamentary representation, and the far right does not have it. In the 2019 elections, the Brexit Party (eurosceptic and xenophobic) reached an agreement with Boris Johnson not to field candidates in the seats held by conservatives, and obtained none. But its successor, Reform UK – of which Nigel Farage is honorary president – will be more competitive in the next elections and could hurt the Tories, dividing the right-wing vote and facilitating Labour’s mission. The extreme right, however, has a lot of media influence, through newspapers such as The Daily Mail and The Daily Express, and is represented within the Conservative Party itself with figures such as the former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, the MP William Rees-Mogg and blocks of legislators such as the European Research Group who exert considerable pressure on the Government. Outside of conventional politics, neo-fascist groups such as the League for the Defense of England and the British National Party operate.
In Ireland, the emergence of the extreme right is a recent and minority phenomenon, with small groups such as the Freedom Party and the Anti-Corruption Party, without parliamentary representation and a very rustic organization.
ITALY AND GREECE
In the government in Italy, on the rise in neighboring Greece
In Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has moderated her speech since coming to power, but continues to fervently defend her policies against immigration – her latest idea has been to bring migrants to Albania – and in favor of the traditional family model. Her party, Brothers of Italy, political heir to the post-fascist Italian Social Movement, remains first in the polls, with around 29% voting intention. With a consolidated Government and a very weak opposition, Meloni has set her goal for the next European elections, where she hopes to be able to reach positions of power in the next European Commission. To achieve this, she has been building bridges with the European People’s Party for some time.
In Greece the extreme right gained strength in Parliament in the elections last June, which the conservatives of New Democracy won with an absolute majority. The Spartans group, considered heirs of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn – declared a criminal organization – obtained 12 seats, the same as Greek Solution, with pro-Russian tendencies and which belongs in the European Chamber to the European Conservatives and Reformists group – the same as Meloni and Vox –. Their slogan: cry out against immigration. The third far-right party that achieved representation was Niki (Vctoria).
FRANCE AND BELGIUM
Great rise of Le Pen and the Flemish radicals
In the Elysée and among Emmanuel Macron’s supporters, there is great concern due to the bad omens ahead of the European elections. In 2019, the Macronists already came second, almost one point behind the National Regrouping (RN), Le Pen’s party. But this time a humiliating catastrophe is feared. According to a latest poll by the economic newspaper ‘Les Échos’, RN would achieve 28% of the votes, compared to only 19% of the president’s centrists. The rest of the options would be far away. These nine points of advantage for the main far-right party in France can set a trend and make Marine Le Pen’s victory in the 2027 presidential elections increasingly more credible. The successes of her co-religionists in other countries contribute to breaking taboos in the electorate and to inject confidence in the party itself.
Something similar happens in Belgium. The latest survey, published in mid-October, placed the right-wing extremists, Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest), in the lead in Flanders, with 23.3%, 4.7% more than in 2019, at the expense of the decline of the NVA conservatives. Wilders’ victory in Holland will further strengthen Vlaams Belang. In French-speaking Wallonia, the protest vote is capitalized by the radical left-wing PTB.
CENTRAL EUROPE AND POLAND
Anti-EU rhetoric in Slovakia and Hungary with a pro-Russian tone
In Poland, the far-right Confederation seemed destined to be a partner of the ruling party for the last eight years, the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS). But the result of the October 15 polls does not allow it – not even the ultras want it – so everything indicates that the liberal Donald Tusk will be prime minister. PiS is in the same European group (Conservatives and Reformists) as Brothers of Italy, Finnish Party, Sweden Democrats and Vox. The Czech Civic Democratic Party (ODS), a europhobic conservative, is also part of this ultra-European group.
In Hungary, pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán withdrew his ultra-conservative Fidesz party from the European People’s Party to avoid expulsion. But he was careful not to integrate his MEPs into other political families with an ultra halo, so they are not attached. This week he launched an anti-European consultation with billboards in which he attacks Ursula von der Leyen. Orbán’s drift has caused an unusual trip to the center of the Hungarian far-right party Jobbik. In Slovakia, social democratic Prime Minister Robert Fico, a populist and pro-Russian, upset the European socialist family by agreeing on a government in October with the ultra-Slovak National Party (SNS). For this reason, his party, Smer-SSD, was expelled.